Every time I think about making risotto I prep myself for what I imagine to be a long, drawn-out ordeal that ends with me sweating. Then, when I actually brace myself to do it, I realize that it’s not really that big of a deal. (I know, imagine… me! Blowing things out of proportion. UN-possible.)
I’m sure the above has something to do with the fact that I never considered doing a vegetable risotto of some sort for vege week. Is there anything more suited to vegetarian cuisine than risotto? I mean, it hits all the right notes: filling, creamy and flavorful,
This one’s particularly suited to the season. It was delicious and I didn’t even break a sweat!
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus, stemmed and cut into half-inch pieces
1/2 pound mushrooms (I used 2 1/4-pound packs of the pre-sliced specialty ‘shrooms to save myself the hassle of cleaning and cutting them)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 springs thyme, leaves finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 to 1 1/2 cups white wine (I used one whole mini bottle)
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (if you want to go full-on vege)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
A couple handfuls Parm
Place an inch or two of water in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and blanch 2-3 minutes until cooked but still crunchy. Place into an ice bath to stop the cooking then drain. Set aside pot for later use.
Melt butter in a deep-sided skillet. Add onions and cook to soften.
Place stock in the saucepot and fill the stock container halfway up with water. Add that to the pot too (should be about 6 to 7 cups of liquid total). Bring to a simmer.
When the onions are soft, add mushrooms and brown. Add garlic and thyme and stir a minute or two then add rice and toast another couple of minutes.
OK, here we go… get ready to stir. A heat-resistant spatula works best.
Pour in wine and stir, stir, stir until it’s all been absorbed into the rice. Add a ladleful or two of the stock and again… stir to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep adding a little stock and stirring until it gets absorbed. Keep going for 20 minutes. YES, 20 FUCKING MINUTES. You can do it!
After 15 minutes, add the peas and the drained asparagus to the risotto to heat through. The rice should be cooked but not mushy when it’s done. Add a couple handfuls of Parm and serve topped with a few grates of black pepper and a little more cheese (because, duh!).
2 hearty servings